Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.

Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.

By Kevin Lynn

A tragedy occurred outside of Holtville, California, when a northbound big rig rammed into the driver’s side of an SUV that pulled out in front of the semi-truck, killing 13 people. This tragic event morphed into the surreal when we learned that the SUV was packed with 25 people who had been smuggled into the United States.

Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.

That’s right, 24 passengers and a driver packed like sardines in a vehicle designed to hold eight adults at maximum. Perhaps the driver who hailed from Mexicali, Mexico, was distracted when he pulled out in front of the semi making its way down Route 115. Anyone who has been in a Ford Expedition has to be thinking to themselves, HOW? How do you get 25 people into a vehicle like that?

Well, you start with ruthless, morally shipwrecked cartels that make steep profits trafficking humans across the border. Todd Bensman of the Center for Immigration Studies recently wrote that cartels expect to make $2,500 per individual smuggled from Mexico. When we do the math, that SUV had a human cargo valued around $60,000.

To give an example of just how revolting this incident is, one has to go back to the American slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. According to, slave ships could be either “tight pack” or “loose pack.” A tight pack could hold more slaves than the loose pack, because the amount of space allocated to each slave was considerably less, but more slaves would die on route to the Americas. It would appear the cartels these days have chosen the tight pack model.

Next, you have to look at the people making the journey to enter the U.S. illegally. Coming from Mexico, they have to fork over the $2,500 and be willing to place their lives in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers. How many other deprivations do they suffer along the way, and what motivates them to do so?

The motivation is to rush to the border and be physically present in the U.S. while the Biden administration plays musical chairs with immigration policy. Will the Biden administration win sweeping amnesties for illegal aliens, or will it fail to deliver on its promises? Many people are betting on the former and are engaged in a desperate and dangerous run to bust through the border in an attempt to claim a chair when the music stops.

Since Jan. 20, Americans have become more apprehensive of the Biden administration’s plans to make sweeping changes to immigration. The majority of Americans are in fact becoming more restrictionist as opposed to expansionist in their views.

The Rasmussen Immigration Index for the week of Feb. 14 – 18, 2021, fell to 86.0, and it’s fallen by nearly 15 points since the week before the November election. This shows voters want tighter immigration control from President Biden’s administration. Right now, the Immigration Index is the lowest since it began in December 2019.

The administration is playing with dynamite, and has pinned itself in a corner that leaves two ways out. They can either abolish the border or enforce our immigration mandates to the fullest extent of the law. To do anything less is to invite more tragedy the likes of which we saw last week.

It is not just traffickers who profit off this immoral trade. There are a dozen industries that profit from cheap, compliant and easy to abuse labor. When I was a kid growing up in the 1960s and ‘70s, there were roughly 750 meat packing plants across the country. My mother worked the front counter of a local one called Lustig’s. The work and pay were good.

Today, 80 percent of our beef products come from three companies. The work and pay are bad. These huge factory meat processors rely on a steady stream of illegal aliens. Their business model would not work without them, and only when compelled to do so by ICE raids are they inclined to pay more, offer benefits and improve work conditions to attract a native workforce.

Neoliberal technocrats also are culpable in this and other tragedies stemming from the trafficking of illegal aliens. These are the toadies that carry the water for the oligarchs who seek to maximize profit via the unbridled movement of people and capital across international borders. They despise the concept of the nation state with its quaint and, in their minds, antiquated concepts of societal norms and democracy. They filter and shape the news and commentary to fit their deranged world views. And in this way, they are most culpable in all of this.

Kevin Lynn is the executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform. Contact him at

Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.
Price of Human Cargo to the U.S.

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